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Outdoors

  • The birding arts: observation and listening

    People often ask me how I happen to see so many more birds and animals than they do.

    They often say that they at least drive into downtown Evergreen every day, sometimes more than that, and they don’t see half as many things as I do.

    I usually reply to this that birders are made by learning the art of observation. I am not as good an observer as my late husband Bill was. He began birding the minute he woke up. Many days he had the first bird on his daily list before he got out of bed by looking out the bedroom window.

  • Douglas fir got its name from fervent botanist

    The Douglas fir, pseudotsuga menziesii, is one of our loveliest trees. It is probably the largest tree growing in our forests today. It has a fascinating history that is closely woven with the man for whom it was named, David Douglas.

  • Babies abound during the foothills’ summer months

    Summer is in full swing with August weather starting in July.

    As the weathermen have been saying, the monsoon winds are bringing warm and wet air up from the Gulf Coast, which is bringing us rain when it bumps into our cool mountains. This usually occurs in August, but this year two near tropical storms brought some similar weather in July, so we have had unusually hot and humid weather, very unlike the hot dry weather we are used to.

  • Cordilleran flycatchers have little luck with nesting spots

    Although spring migration has long been over, we had a bit of excitement in the yard this week.

    The house wrens have long been nesting in a swallow box on the supporting post of the front porch. In fact, they are feeding young. Although it is supposed to be a swallow box, the swallows have never had a chance to use it because the wrens arrive earlier and have already taken it over. They usually have eggs in the box by the time the violet-green swallows arrive. That was the case this year.

  • Double-crested cormorants common at Lake

    One of the most common birds at Evergreen Lake and the most asked about is the double-crested cormorant. For many years, cormorants were largely seacoast birds, found along the rocky cliffs on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

    There were only four records of cormorants in Colorado prior to 1912, and these were considered to be “rare winter visitors” in western Colorado.

    In 1931, the first breeding record was reported by Bailey and Neidrach, with a total of eight pairs nesting at Barr Lake. By 1939, that colony had 30 pairs, and by 1995 it had 248 pairs.

  • Everything’s coming up clover

    I have so many wonderful friends. I will never be able to thank them for all they do for me. Last week, two of them spent several hours on two different days helping me weed my garden. I don’t know how I can ever thank them.

    One thing that surprised me was that most of my weeds were clover or grass, probably a gift that came to me in some of the manure I have put on my garden in the past years.

  • ‘Yellow peril’ makes its June appearance

    Have you been miserable the past two weeks? If you are allergic to pine pollen, you probably have been most uncomfortable for this has been a very heavy pollen year.

    We have jokingly called it the “yellow peril.”

    The warm, dry weather produced an abundant crop of pollen, which blew around until we finally had two rainstorms in our area that washed most of it down to the ground where it seems to stay.

  • Area wildflowers are a hit now -- and even in 1871

    June has mostly been a beautiful month if you can overlook the troublesome hailstorm that shattered everyone’s

    garden last week.

    Hail is always likely in June. There is not much we can do about it. Sometimes a protective row cover will take the brunt of it and keep plants from being shredded so seriously, but I can’t recall a June that we haven’t had at least one destructive hailstorm. It is so regular that long ago I started calling June the hail month.

  • White pelicans make an appearance at Evergreen Lake

    There have been several reports of white pelicans this spring, most on the reservoirs east of Denver and even a small flock on Evergreen Lake for part of one morning.

    White pelicans are regular migrants through the area and nesting summer residents on the prairie reservoirs in eastern and northeastern Colorado. White pelicans can be seen in both spring and fall at Barr Lake and other reservoirs. They nest at Riverside Reservoir and on prairie lakes northward into the prairie provinces of Canada.

  • Get outside and help eradicate weeds at Evergreen Lake

    I don’t know where the month of May went, but it just disappeared with the spring snow.

    Now we are well into the month of June and the annual Community Weed Day is this coming Saturday, June 11.

    This is a very special day, open to the public and one of the few things that is still free. Community Weed Day is held on Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. in the park on the Lake House lawn. It is co-sponsored by Evergreen Audubon, the local Mount Evans chapter of the Sierra Club, the Evergreen Garden Club, and the Evergreen Park and Recreation District.